Sharon Cohen Levin is a leading authority on anti-money laundering (AML), Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), economic sanctions and asset forfeiture. Ms. Levin served for 19 years as Chief of the Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit in the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY).
Since 2006, under her leadership, the SDNY forfeited in excess of $13.9 billion, equal to more than 59% of all federal forfeitures in the United States during this period, of which $8.9 billion has been or will be remitted to crime victims.
In 2014 alone, the SDNY forfeited in excess of $7.25 billion, the largest amount collected in any year by any US Attorney’s Office since the United States Asset Forfeiture Fund was established in the 1980s.
During her tenure, Ms. Levin prosecuted and supervised many of the Department of Justice’s most complex and significant money laundering, sanctions and asset forfeiture prosecutions, including the investigation and prosecution of BNP Paribas, SAC Capital, Lebanese Canadian Bank and 650 Fifth Avenue.
Ms. Levin has worked closely throughout her career with state and federal banking regulators, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), FinCEN and the Department of Justice. As a result, Ms. Levin brings unique skills to clients seeking representation in complex financial services litigation and compliance requirements for regulated entities.
Ms. Levin is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading authority on money laundering and asset forfeiture. Her experience working on forfeitures recently helped reunite Roman Totenberg’s Ames Stradivarius—a rare antique violin that was stolen from him following a 1980 performance—with his family.
She is also a widely recognized for her work related to the recovery of stolen art and cultural heritage property. She has been the keynote speaker, lecturer and panelist for practitioners, law enforcement officials, judges and international prosecutors on topics of enforcement trends in the financial industry, effective AML compliance programs, money laundering, terrorist financing, US economic sanctions and art recovery.
Over the course of her career she has been recognized with 15 prestigious national and international awards and in 2015 was named one of the 75 “most accomplished female attorneys working in the legal profession today” by The National Law Journal. Ms. Levin is currently an adjunct professor at NYU School of Law, where she leads a seminar on asset forfeiture and money laundering.
- JD, University of San Diego School of Law, 1985
- BA, Tulane University, 1982
ADMISSIONS : District of Columbia, New York, Illinois
GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE :
- Department of Justice
- United States Attorneys’ Offices, Assistant US Attorney, Criminal Division and Chief, Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit, Southern District of New York
- United States Attorneys’ Offices, Assistant US Attorney, Civil Division, District of Columbia
- Civil Division, Trial Attorney, Torts Branch
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